The Atlanta Falcons saw their season end in incredibly disappointing fashion a few weeks ago, which led to the firing of head coach Arthur Smith. As always happens when a coaching change occurs, a wellspring of hope appears in the fanbase for a brighter future. The team cast a wide net with their interviews, bringing in pretty much all the top candidates from across the NFL and on both sides of the ball.
Still, for this week’s SB Nation Reacts topic, we wanted to get the pulse of the fanbase on their most preferred coaching hire and least preferred coaching hire from the bunch. Let’s take a look at who you voted for.
Ben Johnson winding up the top choice for Falcons fans isn’t at all surprising. The offensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions is arguably the hottest first-time head coach candidate of this cycle, as he’s helmed a career resurgence for veteran quarterback Jared Goff and built a dominant and balanced offense.
What may surprise some is the second-place candidate: none other than Belichick himself. This doesn’t really surprise me, as there’s obviously a clear case to be made for Darth Hoodie: he’s third all-time in wins, has won six Super Bowls, and is one of the greatest defensive coaches in NFL history.
In third place is my personal choice: Houston Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik. Slowik oversaw a complete overhaul of the Texans offense and helped rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud become the youngest player to ever win a playoff game. With Atlanta’s needs on offense and at quarterback, Slowik seems like an enticing candidate.
In fourth place is former Falcons interim head coach and current Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris. While Morris didn’t fare particularly well in the win/loss column in his first stint as head coach, he’s beloved by coaches and players throughout the NFL and has extensive experience on both sides of the ball. Not to mention the job he’s done turning one of the youngest defenses in the NFL into a respectable unit this year.
The least favorite candidate shouldn’t surprise anyone: it’s Bill Belichick with his second appearance. That’s right, he’s the second-most preferred candidate AND the candidate that a plurality of Falcons fans don’t want to end up in Atlanta. The dichotomy of fan! As many positives as Belichick brings, he’s coming off the worst stretch of his career over the past four seasons. Belichick notably won just one more game than Arthur Smith from 2021-2023, and is coming off a career-worst 4-win season in 2023 that essentially got him fired from New England. He’ll also be the oldest head coach hire in NFL history at age 71, and he’s unlikely to stick around for more than a few seasons.
Second-least preferred is Raheem Morris. I’m guessing Falcons fans weren’t overly impressed with his stint as interim head coach back in 2020 and are a bit worried about his track record as a head coach, but if you’ve got different reasons, share them in the comments below!
Third-least preferred is Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, who I have to assume has the divisional rival and worst team in the NFL stink on him at this stage. Despite Carolina’s complete offensive ineptitude, the defense under Evero was actually great against the pass (3rd in yardage, 8th in NY/A) and solid against the run (12th in yards per carry allowed despite facing the 5th-most rushing attempts).
What are your thoughts on these results? Do you agree or disagree? Who are your preferred and least preferred coaching candidates for Atlanta at this stage?